Industrialists protest hike in iron and steel prices
Jalandhar: Cracking down on the Centre for its indifferent attitude towards industries in the state, industrialists on Monday held a protest march here to oppose the hike in prices of iron and steel. The industrialists who were protesting against the hike in prices of steel by up to 35% in the country held the Centre directly responsible for price hike. Addressing the protest march, Gursharan Singh, president of the Federation of Jalandhar industrial and traders association said the industry of the state whose considerable produce-- about 25%, is consumed in the national market and the rest-- 75%, is exported, is on the verge of closure due to hike in prices of raw materials of iron and steel. He also said the selling price of goods is already low in the international market but with the increase of prices of raw materials, the cost price has increased a lot due to which the industry is finding it hard to survive in the international market. Gursharan alleged that due to policies of the union minister for iron and steel Ram Vilas Paswan, industrialists are facing a major problem. He further alleged that Paswan in nexus with major steel stockists and manufacturers had allowed steep hike in the prices of steel. ‘‘How is it possible that the prices of the steel increase by up to Rs 8,000 per tonne and the minister is ignorant about it?'' questioned Gursharan. Criticizing the pro-agriculture policies of the successive governments at the Centre and state level, Inderjeet Singh, president of Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Units Ludhiana said industries play a vital role in the infrastructure building of the country which should not be ignored by the government. ‘‘For all-round development, government should encourage industries and agriculture side by side,'' added Inderjeet.